Updated: January 14, 2014 11:57AM
Here is a look at what Southlanders are accomplishing in the military.
News includes Orland Park, Tinley Park, Chicago Ridge, Oak Lawn, Park Forest and Olympia Fields.
Army Pvt. Stephen J. Lawson graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C.
The son of Kevin Lawson, of Orland Park, is a 2011 graduate of Andrew High School in Tinley Park.
Army National Guard Pvt. Chris M. Hanus graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C.
The son of Annette and Mike Hanus, of Chicago Ridge, is a 2012 graduate of Richards High School in Oak Lawn.
Army Spec. Terrence O. Dills graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C.
The son of Evelyn Armstrong, of Park Forest, and Terry Dills, of Lansing, Mich., is a 1998 graduate of Rich East High School in Park Forest and earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Robinson retires from Illinois National Guard
Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Robinson, of Olympia Fields, retired from the Illinois National Guard after 30 years.
He served for the past two years as the senior enlisted advisor, the principle advisor to the adjutant general on all matters related to soldiers and airmen.
“It’s bittersweet,” Robinson said. “The thing I’m going to miss most is the interaction with our soldiers and airmen.”
Robinson entered the Illinois National Guard in 1983 as a fire support specialist with 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery.
At the time, he was finishing his bachelor’s degree in health care administration and wanted to serve the National Guard in a medical-related capacity.
“I was told there were no slots in the medical field and the only military occupational specialty available to me was fire support specialist in the artillery,” Robinson said.
“So, I joined the artillery and I started to enjoy it because I wasn’t doing medical stuff during drill weekends. It worked out for me. I always tried to turn a negative into a positive.”
He said he had thoughts of becoming an officer when he first enlisted but abandoned the idea because of the demands of school, a budding family and a full-time job.
“It was taking a toll,” Robinson said. “I felt the only way I could make a difference was to be part of the solution, and I had to place myself in a position where I could do that.”
He said the camaraderie and the opportunity to mentor soldiers are moments he reflects on often.
“I think I’ve done a great job, at least I hope I did a great job, at being able to mentor young men,” Robinson said.
“The feedback I get from them is ‘if it wasn’t for you ...’ and ‘thank you.’ The joy of seeing these guys doing what they do and looking at me as a staff sergeant back then, and they’re taking over and doing it now, I can’t help but be proud. That makes me feel good.”
He plans to complete the seven remaining classes toward a master’s degree in health care administration and continue to serve soldiers and airmen.
“My desire would be to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Robinson said.
“My background in health care administration and my service in the National Guard — interacting with soldiers and airmen, veterans and their families — I think that would be a perfect fit.”